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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Book Review 'Know me, like me, follow me" Penny Power

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If you’ve been asleep for half a decade, you may have missed the proliferation of social networking sites across every imaginable spectrum of society.
Not so long ago it was kinda quaint to hear the elders in our society feign complete ignorance and befuddlement when introduced to the mobile phone. These late adopters are now texting their fingers down to the bone.
It is interesting to compare the attitudes of society, from our reaction to mobile phones (anyone with a mobile phone back in the early 90’s was obviously a pompous YUPPIE!) to the current ubiquity of social networking.
Like it or not this form of engagement is not going away anytime soon, and more and more previously disinterested movers and shakers are jumping onboard. There is a tangible realization that failing to engage may be counter productive to both their social and business goals.
Penny Power, the founder of Ecademy back in the late 1990’s, was one of the earliest facilitators of business to business networking. Her recent book ‘Know me, like me, follow me’ is an engaging introduction to social networking.
Written in a conversational style akin to a series of Blogs it is more accessible than some of the more academic books on the same subject.
One of the questions posited: are social networks enabling the world to be more humane-by creating connections and a new thinking?
A common theme running through the book is that success is the by-product of contribution and that commerce follows the building of relationships, not vice versa.
One of the most interesting questions among social networkers is whether to focus on building depth or width. In other words, should you build smaller more targeted connections that you can engage with regularly or randomly collect large numbers of tenuous anonymous connections?
This debate will rage forever, but Penny Power surprisingly is an ardent supporter of the latter approach. Her philosophy is that the name of the game is involvement. Personal branding is the new buzz term of e-commerce, and those that succeed need to be found. Search engines are impersonal they find those who are ubiquitous.  Relationships begin after a random interaction has occurred, and those who can leverage these relationships with like-minded people and businesses have the greatest chance of success.
You may not learn anything new by reading this book, but you may alter your perspective of where this social media phenomenon is heading and the power it may have in defining your online and offline outcomes.
I was suitably motivated to join the Ecademy network and to re evaluate my thoughts about building random connections. If you appreciate the power of serendipity then you may well embrace the message of this book.
I believe all social media networkers would benefit from reading this book and those who have not yet ventured into the world of Blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting and Networking with strangers may be motivated to dip their toe in the ocean.

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  1. "Success is the by-product of contribution" - love it. I see it working in theory, I am yet to see it working in reality:).

    As far as random vs targeted social marketing is concerned, I am not sure which way I lean towards.

    On Facebook my friends are much more targeted, whereas on Twitter much more random.

    So far the power is in the numbers; I get much more traffic from Twitter.

    Great review, Kiaran.

    Ana Hoffman

  2. Hey Kiaran,
    Great review. Thanks for sharing.
    All the best,
    Mavis Nong